I had to delete Words With Friends from my phone. My competitive nature didn’t allow me to go easy on anyone who wasn’t as formidable as I, and when I did find worthy opponents I would…well to put it mildly, I’d get shouty when I wasn’t winning.
It’s pretty rare that a mid-30’s mid-packer like me will be vying for even the most humble award, so I don’t generally consider myself a competitive runner. But last week at the Washington Heights 5k, I saw it. The setup: I had barely any sleep and was exhausted from insane hours on a pilot and marathon training, I haven’t been training on hills and the hills in the race were nasty, and I went into the corral telling myself it was just part of the day’s 15 miles and I should just take it easy. Oh yeah, and it was prohibitively overcrowded.
But “take it easy” isn’t really in the vocabulary of the competitive, and I attacked every hill with everything I had left after having run at 10pm the night before, and when I scraped in just under my B goal I got shouty again. “Is that all ya got, Cinnamon? Harder! Better! You want to be a Boston qualifier? Run like one, ya wuss!” What my Words opponents never understood is that, for me, competition is synonymous with motivation.
I’ve since made peace with my finish time, but the experience got me wondering about the rest of you:
Do you consider yourself competitive? If not, why not? If so, are you competing against the clock, other runners, or just yourself? How does competition affect your racing experience?
As always, we’ll take your answers in the comments!